Mountain Traverse to Lake Chelan Lodge

Seattle, WA

Trip Highlights

  • Alpine Backpacking
  • Remote Town & Lodge
  • Boat Ferry Out
  • Mountain Lakes
  • Pristine Wilderness
  • Unique Adventure

Description

We wager to say that there are few things better in this life than “roughing it” through pristine mountains, and then being rewarded with the amenities of a remote, comfortable lodge. This spectacular North Cascades adventure provides exactly that, and is one of Wildland’s most unique tour offerings. It combines three days and two nights of iconic North Cascades backpacking with two nights at a lakeside lodge in a remote mountain town with no road access, and a scenic boat ferry back to our starting point.

The backpacking portion of our trip takes us over alpine passes and past stunning mountain lakes through the pristine wilderness of North Cascades National Park. On Day 3 we drop into a majestic mountain lake, surrounded by sheer, forested mountains on all sides, and home to the amazing Pacific Northwest town of Stehekin (population 75). For the next two nights we soak up modern comforts in a rustic setting, as we settle into a wonderful lodge on the shores of Lake Chelan. We’ll enjoy delicious meals, swim in the lake, explore the quirky town, embark on an optional day hike and take advantage of ample time to simply relax. The final punctuation mark on this amazing trip is a beautiful boat ferry returning us to civilization.

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From
$2520 Per Person
$250 Single Supplement

$250 Single Supplement

Return Guests get a 10% discount on all Trips!
Trip Type: Guided Backpacking Trip
Difficulty Level:
Solitude Level:
Group Size: 4-10 Guests
Trip Length: 5 Days
Distance: 21+MI / 34+KM

DIFFICULTY LEVEL 4

Scale of 1-5. 1 is least difficult; 5 is most difficult

SUMMARY OF DIFFICULTY
The cruxes of this trek lie in the first river crossing which if attempted early season can be challenging due to the runoff from snowmelt. One of our mountain passes can also be challenging, if attempted too early in the season, due to lingering snow. There is potential for hiking on steeper glaciated terrain that would requires micro spikes (provided) and enhanced caution.

Hiking Distances:

Up to 8.4 miles

Backpack Weight:

35-45 lbs

Terrain:

Moderately Rugged

Max Daily Elev. ↑↓:

Up to 3100 ft

Heights Exposure:

Moderate

Please Note: Terrain, Elevation Gain and Heights Exposure ratings reflect the section or day of the trip with the maximum difficulty of each. Much of the trip is at easier levels. See the trip itinerary for more detailed information. Backpack Weight ratings are estimates that account for Wildland-provided gear, guest clothing, personal items and a share of group food. By packing light it’s often possible to stay on the lower end of the weight range. Pack weights also decrease during the trip.

PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS

  • Hiking uphill or downhill with a 35-45 lb backpack for 6-10 hours
  • Maintaining balance and footing on moderately rugged terrain
  • Potentially hiking on ice or snow
  • Challenging river crossings
  • Hiking with occasional, moderate heights exposure

SOLITUDE LEVEL 3

1 least solitude, 5 most solitude

We rate this North Cascades National Park hike a solitude 3. You can expect to see a couple other groups of hikers per day during the backpacking portion, and to be around other visitors most of the time in Stehekin.

Seattle is one of the United States’ most convenient cities to travel to. SeaTac (Seattle-Tacoma) Airport is one of the most easily accessed destinations in the country. Many major cities in the United States and internationally offer direct flights into Seattle. Please stay at one of our recommended hotels (coming soon!), all of which have airport shuttles so you do not have to rent a vehicle.

PRIVATE TRIPS

Travel in perfect company by booking a private trip exclusively for your group!

Our sliding scale for private trips is based on the final number of guests in your group. Rates are per person and do not include sales tax, national park fees or guide gratuity. The final rate is based on the actual number of guests on the trip and may adjust based on cancellations or additions.

Please Note: you can also enjoy a private trip at our normal scheduled rates by filling any empty tour to capacity. However, if group members drop from the tour those spots will automatically become available on our website for instant booking. By purchasing a private trip at the rates listed below, your trip will remain exclusive to your group regardless of cancellations. 

PRIVATE RATES FOR THIS TRIP

  • 2 People: Rate x 2.5
  • 3 People: Rate x 1.75
  • 4 People: Rate x 1.25
  • 5+ People: Rate x 1.15

*all rates are per person

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We’re here to help. If you have any questions, call 800-715-HIKE or contact us online.
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ITINERARY

ITINERARY

Day 1

  • Shuttle:
  • Hiking Mileage: 4.7 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1100 feet

This multi-day North Cascade National Park hike begins with a pick up in Seattle and then a scenic drive into the North Cascades.  When we reach our trailhead, we’ll enjoy a delicious lunch before packing up and hitting the trail.  We’ll have a moderate hike down a forested canyon following a pristine mountain creek, as it winds among groves of Douglas-fir and Ponderosa Pine.  The creek will lead us to our first camp where we’ll enjoy a hearty dinner to prepare ourselves for a more challenging day 2.

Day 2

  • Hiking Mileage: 8.4 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 1000 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 3100 feet

Day 2 we’ll rise, fuel our bodies with hot drinks and breakfast, and pack up camp in a timely manner as we have much elevation to gain!  We’ll continue to follow yesterday’s creek until we reach a confluence, at which point we will ford the river and continue south.  After making it safely across the creek, we’ll begin our trek – climbing 3100 feet over 6.9 miles – toward a high mountain pass with stunning views of the craggy, surrounding peaks.  Just over the pass, we’ll descend slightly, down to a gorgeous subalpine lake where we will spend our second night.  Once we arrive at camp, we’ll have the opportunity to enjoy the views of the lake, wildflowers, and alpine glow across the North Cascades.

Day 3

  • Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
  • Elevation Loss: 3800 feet
  • Elevation Gain: 400 feet

Day 3 is a stark contrast to Day 2 as we prepare to descend all the elevation we previously gained.  After a hearty breakfast we will begin our trek down, down, down the trail until it intersects with a mountain creek and another trail. As we continue down along the creek we will capture our first sweeping views of Lake Chelan and the Stehekin Valley!  We will finish descending into the Stehekin Valley, and where the trail meets the road, we’ll get picked up by a shuttle bus that will take us the remaining 5 miles to the lodge! A very well deserved hot indoor dinner, showers and cozy beds await us after a few hard days of hiking.

Day 4

  • Hiking Mileage: Up to 15 miles
  • Elevation Gain/Loss: Up to 6,000 feet

On day 4, we’ll eat a hearty breakfast to prepare for another challenging hike up toward Purple Pass for those who are interested.  If you’d rather stay at the lodge, that’s also an option. DIY options at the lodge include walking around town, swimming, renting a canoe or kayak to get out on the lake, fishing or simply relaxing in this stunning place.

For those who want to hike, we’ll start (with wonderfully light day packs) climbing along Purple Creek through an old burn area.  As we climb up and up, in and out, of the Purple Creek Drainage, we begin to make our way into old growth subalpine firs forests abundant with wildflowers, and catch our first glimpses of the snow covered peaks that surround the Stehekin Valley.  We’ll go as far as the group desires, enjoy lunch on the trail, and eventually turn back toward our cozy lodge and dinner accommodations.

Day 5

  • Water Taxi: 2.5-4 hours
  • Shuttle: 3.5 hours

We’ll spend our final morning together enjoying the peacefulness of Lake Chelan and Stehekin Landing before we say goodbye to the North Cascades and head back towards Seattle.  After breakfast, we’ll pack our things and catch our Lady of the Lake water taxi that will take us to our shuttle pick up in Chelan.  We’ll have 2.5 hours on the boat to take in the grandeur of the surrounding mountains we just spent the last days walking through.  Once in Chelan, our shuttle will take us 3.5 hours back to Seattle to our airport hotel.

Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary access restrictions, weather, lodging/campground availability, guest ability/injury, natural events like fires and flooding, and other potential causes. Normal terms and conditions apply to trips with itinerary changes.

Trip Dates & Booking

TRIP DATES & BOOKING

Click on a date to register. You can also click here to request new dates or book through customer service.

Available to Book

AVAILABLE TO BOOK

This trip is available and bookable online! Click on the date to register now or contact us online to book through our award-winning customer service team!

Going Fast

GOING FAST

This trip has 1 or 2 spots remaining and is bookable online! Click on the date to book now or contact us online to book through customer service.

Request a Reservation

REQUEST A RESERVATION

This trip is exclusively booked through customer service due to logistics with lodging, permits, staffing, availability, or something else. Please contact us online or call us at 800-715-HIKE (4453) to request a reservation.

Don't see your dates? Call us! We may be able to add new trip dates.

800-715-HIKE (4453)

Trip Details

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, backcountry sleeping pad and multi-day backpack
  • High quality, synthetic sleeping bag (professionally laundered after every use) – or bring your own.
  • Use of trekking poles
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • Two nights at the North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin on the shores of Lake Chelan (double occupancy)
  • Trained hiking guide(s) with years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. See Guide Bios.
  • Comprehensive, roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Seattle and back
  • All entrance fees, permits and passes
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and communication device (InReach Explorer or satellite phone)
  • A Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and dependents to a discount of 10% off any Wildland hiking trip after your first one (must book directly with us to receive the discount)!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear (see recommendations)
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Water bottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about what to pack.

Meals: What to Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.

Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:

  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware synthetic-fill sleeping bags (or bring your own)
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Emergency communication device(s)

Guest Packing List

When you register for this tour you’ll receive access to a printable, downloadable trip information packet with a detailed packing list specific to this trip (click here to see it now.) All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots, rain gear, a recommended clothing system, a headlamp or flashlight, a hydration system (water bottles and/or bladder) and other items specific to each trip.

Additionally, some guests choose to bring their own sleeping bag. We supply high quality, synthetic fill bags that are professionally laundered after every trip. Synthetic fill is non-allergenic, insulates when damp and stands up well to repeated washings, but is heavier and bulkier than down. If you’re able to bring your own down sleeping bag, there are multiple benefits. If not, we’ve got you covered!

Trip Logistics

Trip Logistics

How Do I Register?

Reserve your spot today! In the Trip Dates & Booking section of this page, the green and red dates are bookable online by simply clicking on the date, and blue dates must be booked through our customer service team for a variety of possible reasons. To email our customer service team, you can click here to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you’re ready to register we’ll email you a link to a registration profile. You’ll have 72 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit.

Feel free to call us for more info – we’re here 7 days a week!

Where Do We Meet?

Your guide will conduct a virtual orientation meeting (via conference call) at 5:00 PM the evening before your trip begins to review the packing list, communicate the first day’s logistics and answer any last minute questions you have. Your guide will give you the phone number for this call during the pre-trip contact approximately 10 days before your trip start date.

Early on the morning of Day 1 your guide will pick you up from your accommodations in Seattle, WA.

Click here to see a printable, downloadable trip information packet with more detailed guidance about flights, shuttles, recommended lodging and more.

Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day’s pick-up time. Generally, you can expect it to be between 5 and 8 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally between 6 and 8 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).

Safety Precautions

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT’s, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. Guides adhere to standardized risk management protocols in case of any potential or actual incident, and all tours carry an emergency communication device and comprehensive first-aid kit. Additionally we have a “24/7” system through which guides or guests can reach Wildland support personnel at any time.

If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.

Guide Working Parameters

Guides are required to take 8 hours off each 24-hour period to sleep, recuperate, take personal/down time…etc. In addition, as part of the 8 hours off they must sleep/rest or be in their tents/rooms uninterrupted for a minimum of 5 hours each night. We ask guests to respect these requirements and to not interrupt guides’ off time and sleep time unless there is a true emergency.

Age Restrictions

Age restrictions on this trip are as follows:

  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 5 and older to join private tours, with final approval and specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis

Weather in North Cascades National Park

The best hiking weather in the North Cascades is from mid June to late September, when the vast majority of trails (except ones up very high) are snow free. The west side of the Park catches the brunt of storm systems coming in from the Pacific Ocean, making the west side much wetter and more lush. The lower east side tends to be much warmer and drier throughout the summer. The west side receives on average 70+ inches more of precipitation and 400+ more inches of snowfall than the west side. Even with these discrpencies however, summer is a stunning time of year to be in the Cascades, on either side. See below for average temperatures and precipitation in North Cascades National Park:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
Month
High
Low
Precip
June
63°
41°
2.2 in
July
70°
45°
1.7 in
August
70°
45°
1.7 in
September
61°
39°
2.5 in

Accommodations

Accommodations

Backcountry Sleeping

3 Nights TENT CAMPING

Sleeping on backpacking trips is in premier 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Solo travelers, and anyone else who requests it, are issued single tents. Top-of-the-line self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags (professionally laundered after every trip) are also provided.

North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin

2 Nights

The North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin is a National Park concession offering rooms with a view of Lake Chelan and the surrounding mountains, a full-service restaurant and gift shop. Only accessible by foot, boat or float plane, it offers intense natural beauty and solitude combined with comfort and modern amenities.

Backcountry Cuisine

FRESH & DELICIOUS

Meals from breakfast Day 1 through lunch the last day are fully included and prepared by your guide. We never use dehydrated backpacking meals, instead serving freshly prepared, delicious backcountry cuisine made with a variety of common and specialty ingredients that travel well in the wilderness.

Trip Reviews

Trip Reviews

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